Batley and Spen /bætli ənd spɛn/ /bæʔli ənd spɛn/ is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2016 by Tracy Brabin, a member of the Labour Co-operative Party (which denotes she is a member of the Labour Party and Co-operative Party, one of 27 current Labour MPs, and requires members to contribute practically to a cooperative business).
The area is in the rolling Pennines of West Yorkshire with considerable commerce, industry, retail and occupational trades carried out by most of its residents and a sizeable retired population, compared to city centres. A lower percentage of social housing is present than the regional average, however most of the larger settlements have some social housing. The population in the district is diverse. Cleckheaton and many of the towns in the Spen Valley have few residents from non-white heritage backgrounds, while Batley has a sizeable number of residents with South Asian backgrounds, namely Pakistani (9.2%) and Indian (Gujarati) (15.9%). Heckmondwike also has a well-established South Asian community with 16.9% residents having Pakistani heritage.
The results of the last fifty years show marginal majorities for Labour and for the Conservatives.
Jo Cox, who had represented the constituency since the 2015 general election, was fatally shot and stabbed on 16 June 2016. The Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and UKIP announced on 17 June that they would not contest the vacant seat.
1983–1997: The Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees wards of Batley East, Batley West, Birstall and Birkenshaw, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and Spen.
1997–2010: The Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees wards of Batley East, Batley West, Birstall and Birkenshaw, Cleckheaton, and Spen.
2010–present: The Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees wards of Batley East, Batley West, Birstall and Birkenshaw, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and Liversedge and Gomersal.
The constituency was created in 1983 from parts of the seats of Batley and Morley, Brighouse and Spenborough and Dewsbury. This West Yorkshire constituency covers Batley, Birkenshaw, Birstall, Cleckheaton, East Bierley, Gomersal, Hunsworth, and Liversedge. Traditionally Batley and Heckmondwike have been inclined to vote Labour, while the other settlements have been more inclined to vote Conservative. The exception is Cleckheaton which has returned Liberal Democrat members for the local council.
The seat swung in Labour's favour in the elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005 though the Conservatives reduced the Labour majority in 2010 with a swing below the national average.
The seat did not exist in its present form prior to 1983. It has seen significant boundary changes since its creation – most notably those changes that took effect for the 1997 general election.
The town of Heckmondwike was part of the seat from its creation in 1983 until 1997, when it was transferred to Dewsbury. Heckmondwike was returned to Batley and Spen for the 2010 general election.
The electoral ward of Heckmondwike (which includes part of Liversedge township) was considered part of the Spen Valley (although it was never included in the former Spenborough Urban district). Heckmondwike ward was for many years a Labour stronghold, but in the 2000s elected two BNP councillors. The BNP councillors were narrowly defeated by Labour in 2007 and 2008.
In the 2010 general election, the BNP got 7.1% in Batley and Spen. By 2015 the BNP had disappeared from the candidate list.